Rose is an original fantasy comic from writer Meredith Finch, with art by Ig Guara, and published by Image Comics. The book follows a young woman who is believed to be the last Guardian, a group of protectors in the world who bond with great cats. These guardians and their Khat allies are all but wiped out and Rose must become one of these great heroes to save her people and her world from the evil sorceress Drucilla.
Rose caught me from the first issue because it reminded me of some of the best stories I’ve read before, while keeping its originality. Initially it reminded me of a book that got me back into comics, Lady Pendragon. Years ago I foolishly thought I was going to give up comics for good, and sold everything I had. The crossover plague of the mid 90’s was exhausting to say the least. Anyway, a few years later I ran across an issue of Lady Pendragon in a gaming shop and I was pulled back in. Good fantasy comics are few and far between so when I found another one I was elated. The story also reminded me a bit of Mercedes Lackey, in the whole animal companion telepathy thing. I’ve always liked Lackey’s world-building so that aspect had me interested from the start.
Despite its similarity to other works, Rose stands on its on in so many aspects. The world-building is deep and interesting. We’re given enough information so that we know what’s going on, but also a bit more so that I’m interested in what it’s like beyond the pages of the story. That kind of detail is one that I’m always drawn to. I don’t want a story where the world seems like an island around the characters in it. Finch’s first go at creating her own book knocked it out of the park as far as I’m concerned, and I’m hoping we have Rose, or another of Meredith’s original works for years to come.
The story itself is pretty good, but not unique at its core. It’s the delivery of the story that makes the book a great read. Basically you have your hero, a young woman who grew up without knowing what she really was. She’s destined to attain great power, in this case bond with a Khat and become a guardian, and save the world. Our hero, though, is far from perfect. Her world-view is shaken many times, and her principles challenged. Her companions are all wonderfully flawed, and not just vested in her journey because she’s a pretty young girl. She’s joined by a former enemy of the guardians, a group of sketchy rebels, and an old wise woman on her quest. In all, the cast of characters makes the story well worth reading.
Guara’s art in the book is top notch in my opinion. I’m always looking for artists with a unique style all their own and he has it. In his ten years in the industry he’s set himself apart among a sea of fine, but unrecognizable artists. His characters, and the action, come right off the page and he’s up there with Joelle Jones as one of my favorite artists in my current pull list. Line work, colors and inks all come together to make this a beautiful series to read.
Honestly, this is one of the few books I’m consistently looking forward to every month and it goes right to the top of my pile when it comes in. It’s a great read and worth trying out if you’re looking for something new. It’s currently on its 15th issue but I think you’ll be able to pick it up starting with #1 fairly easily. Check it out.